A 24-year-old man who was shot in West Bay on Sunday night was a gold medal winner in the Special Olympics regional games.
Solomon Webster, who won gold for the Cayman Islands in bocce in Puerto Rico in 2010 and was also a keen footballer and basketball player, was shot near his home on Miss Daisy Lane.
Mr. Webster reportedly was dead when he was taken to hospital Sunday night. Police confirmed on Monday morning that he had died.
Police have launched a murder investigation following the shooting that occurred just after 8:30 p.m. Sunday. It is the first homicide of 2014 in the Cayman Islands.
The Cayman Compass understands that Mr. Webster was shot at least once in the upper part of his leg.
Representatives from the Cayman Islands Special Olympics Committee said they were “shocked and saddened” by the “senseless” killing.
In a statement on behalf of the “Special Olympics Family,” sent to the Compass by Toni Johnson, board director on the committee, Mr. Webster is described as an all-around “star athlete” who represented his country in athletics, football and basketball and competed in sporting competition in Ireland, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
The statement describes Mr. Webster as a courageous young man who overcame many challenges, and urges anyone with information about his death to talk to the police.
A police spokesman confirmed on Monday, “A murder investigation has now been launched into the death.
“The circumstances of the attack are still being investigated, however, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service is following a direct line of inquiry and is requesting that anyone who was in the area at the time of the shooting, or has any information contact us.”
Mr. Webster, who attended the Lighthouse School for children with learning disabilities, would have celebrated his 25th birthday next week.
Michael Myles, government’s at-risk youth coordinator, was house manager at the Bonaventure Boys Home where Mr. Webster lived for several years.
“He was a good young man,” he said. “I really liked him. He did have a troubled past and because of that he ended up with a lot of behavioral issues and at times did not make good decisions.
“Solomon had a good heart. He was challenged academically but always performed to his best and aspired to be a good athlete. I watched him compete in sports and represent the island well in the Special Olympics. He also played recreational football and did really well.”
He said Mr. Webster had trained as a mechanic during his time at Bonaventure and had been working at The Auto Spa in George Town.
It is understood that Mr. Webster had learning difficulties but was not physically disabled. The Special Olympics Cayman Islands committee said in its statement that Mr. Webster had been a committed athlete.
“Solomon’s association with Special Olympics started when he was a young boy at the Lighthouse School and over the years we have seen him mature into a fine young man. Those who coached and mentored Solomon will remember him as a young man of tremendous talent, stamina and strength at any sport he took part in; a dedicated family person; and one who gave his best effort in whatever he undertook.”
Mr. Webster features in a video about the Special Olympics filmed to promote the event.
“That clip starts with Solomon speaking from his heart – ‘If you are a fan of courage – you are a fan of Special Olympics.’ In his short life, he demonstrated to us all what courage is as he strove to overcome many challenges with bravery and a solid determination to always do better,” the statement says.
“We will be keeping his family and friends in our prayers and urge anyone with any knowledge of this senseless crime to contact Crimestoppers. May he rest in peace.”
Anyone with information can call the West Bay Police Station on 949-3999, the RCIPS tip-line at 949-7777 or Crime Stoppers at 800-8477 (TIPS).